The two of us, like I am certain of so many other households, were not quite prepared to have our children returning to roost for the foreseeable future. We love our fledglings but still, Senior Management did find need to hold a Staff Meeting after a couple of days of togetherness wherein it was announced:

Point 1. Tuna cans DO NOT go into the dishwasher.

Point 2. Any task requests put forth by Senior Management are not “suggestions.”

Point 3. The question, “What’s for (insert meal)?” is not permitted.

Circumstances aside, we’re faring well. Really.

Four related adults under one roof necessarily requires surge capacity though, mostly for groceries but especially for personal space. I honestly think the house is thrilled to be at our service in that latter regard!

Mother Nature is very much on our side, too, allowing the boys to solve the world’s problems in the fresh air and sunshine, one craft brew at a time.

Monday morning rolled around and the workweek commenced. Tony has taken over my office space, upsetting my carefully curated and Kondo-approved style with a monitor and cables and all kinds of gear.

Anna Grace had claimed the fourth bedroom as her office. I was inspired to write a poem:

‘Twas just days before self-quarantine
Came to an end.
For the lass from Dublin
Whose academic life went upend.

Driving lessons! Freedom!
Were soon within her grasp.
Then Governor Lee
Shattered that hope in a snap.

“Safer at Home” is the rule of the day
For all but “essential’ activities
Until nearly May.

Back to her mat
She went with her friends
Einstein and Schrödinger…
But just where was his cat?

With all other available space taken, the newly minted Fed was given the dining room table. Not quite the grand “First Day” he had envisioned.

The days wove themselves into a new pattern. Tony and I still had breakfast alone together because, seriously, we were in no danger of seeing our Millennials before 0800. And rather mysteriously the family would begin to appear in the kitchen around midday, be it because the three of them were coincidentally taking a break at the same time or perhaps the aroma of lunch had wafted all around. 

Pretty certain I cooked a bunch of great food that week, but the only culinary highlight that stands out was crispy and perfectly puffed Naan, which we paired with grilled vindaloo chicken.

Any opportunity to play with fire was always a hit with these two, creating cozy al fresco dining settings on some of our cooler early Spring evenings.

Time for a sidenote about His Majesty, Clayton Theodore Foxhound III, a senior puppy who most certainly can learn new tricks. With all four of his people accounted for, that obviously meant more attention for him. The morning walks thus became longer, but soon that wasn’t enough. Once he discovered that on warm days he could snooze outside on the patio furniture, the morning hours were spent communicating said desire to be outside.

Now we all take turns dog-sitting on the terrace, because the wily Foxhound simply can not be left to his own devices, even when leashed.

And when the sun becomes too warm for His Chubbiness, there’s always the shade of another yet-to-be-landscaped garden area. The previous owners really did not love the house. Did I mention we discovered that there were no screens for two of the bedroom windows? The previous owners lived here for seven years. Did they not open the windows?

Midweek, I think? The Governor upped the ante from “Safer-at-Home” to “Stay-at-Home” which really didn’t change anything for us but was probably a useful declaration for the yahoos around here who didn’t seem to be social distancing.

I decided that homemade lasagna would make everyone happy, and the Fed hinted that he would like to help. Always happy to have an extra hand in the kitchen.

From the homemade Bolognese to the handmade pasta sheets and of course, from-scratch Béchamel, our dinner (and the following day’s lunch) was spirit-warming.

Friday was fun, depending on one’s definition. To start the day I headed in the early hours to a big-box store to gather a few essential provisions, and was pleased to note that social distancing protocols were in place. Among the necessary provisions:

Coffee and tea barely consumed, the “children” hurried outside with their Nerf guns.

Passive tactics soon ended…

Just before lunchtime I fired up our indoor cooktop grill. Tony was on a conference call in my office, and Jack was outdoors on a conference call (and with Cletus); since I was only grilling fresh kielbasa sausages I didn’t see the need to take the project outdoors. Having an indoor cooktop grill is great for small cooking projects, though the smoke detector is placed quite near, meaning that it freaks out at the slightest whiff of smoke. Tony replaced it with one that has an override button. As it turns out, that button isn’t all what it is cracked up to be.

With the juices from the sausages sparking flames, the stupid smoke detector kept pinging. Anna Grace ran down from her office at the first sound to see what was the matter. I quickly tasked her with hitting the “override” button while I continued to grill.

Even with the cooktop exhaust fan on “High;” the kitchen windows open; and Anna Grace manning the override button, we still managed somehow to set off the home security system as well, though thankfully I punched in the “all clear” code before the fire company was dispatched! By this time Jack (and CTF) had come inside, wondering why the alarms were buzzing; and I could hear Tony commenting something like, “It’s OK, my wife is cooking.” to his colleague. (Circumstances being what they are, I will forgive him for that remark.)

All’s well that ends well. These beauties went on to join warm, vinegar-and-oil-kissed potatoes as our lunch. And I made a note to add “Induction Cooktop” to my wish list.

In the midst of the Nerf battle, our neighbor decided to yell an introduction to the children from  half an acre away. (Have I not written about not knowing our neighbors?) She also mentioned that there was to be a Golf Cart Parade later in the day for everyone to come out and wave to one another (from a turkey vulture wingspan distance, naturally).

Dutifully at 1700 we appeared in our driveway to “meet” the neighbors we had not previously met over the last six months. A great idea, and for those few moments it felt like we lived in a real neighborhood.

Over dinner we made plans to take a day hike the following day in one of our more remote state parks. The following morning, checking my news feed, I scrolled past,

In support of Governor Lee’s Executive Order 23, we have made the difficult decision to close Tennessee State Parks. This closure is effective April 4, 2020 and running through April 14, 2020.

So much for that.